You may or may not have heard that Chris Carpenter made his second rehab start last night in Memphis. You may or may not have already read tons of recaps about the results of that appearance. Those recaps probably included the local columnists's sensationalized account, I'm here to calm your nerves (a bit).
First of all, this was our view... good for scouting.
Now, for the report: Carp clearly didn't have his best stuff. He only threw one curve in his warm ups and it hung so bad that he mothballed it for the first inning. Curve looked better in warmups of the second inning, so he went to it a couple of times. It spun. As the game went on, he got a better feel for the curve (as you can see by this instagram film from @thefilmjerk).
4Seam: Velocity wasn't good. The best I saw on the gun was 93. Strauss reported 95, but that never showed on the gun. There was a gun about 20 feet away from us, but it wasn't angled where I could see it.
2 Seam/Cutter: I'm just going to lump these together. Carp got a couple of good ground balls off the end of the bat in the first with his cutter. His control and command weren't good with either. As the game progressed, his control and command both improved. His best fastball was a back door two seamer to catch Jon Singleton looking to end the 3rd.
Change: Didn't see it much. Strauss reported a good one. I seem to recall good results with the one he referenced, but the pitch was up and not in a good location.
Carp's mechanics looked like vintage Carp. Nothing stood out as being 'off' other than results. Results also seemed to be affected by an inconsistent/bad strike zone. Carp broke off some beautiful curves that went right through the bottom of the zone that were called balls.
My overall assessment of Carp's performance was this: he looked like a guy making his second rehab start. His stuff wasn't good. He struggled with control and command. His velocity wasn't there. I don't feel like that all matters as much as Carp and Strauss lead us to believe. The thing that really matters is how he feels today and tomorrow. If he is able to continue to demonstrate that he is healthy, his stuff will improve. His control and command will improve. His velocity will tick up a notch or two. He won't take 3 innings to get a feel for his curveball. It won't take him 3 innings to record his first swinging strike against an AAA lineup.
1. For as deep as the organization is, this was quite the underwhelming lineup. Wong was the only real prospect in the lineup. He had a very nice double off the left field wall.
2. Pham was disappointing. He struck out a couple of times and took the slowest walk back to the dugout that I've ever seen. He had an opportunity to throw a runner out at third and made a very weak throw to the cutoff man. Mechanically, he looked like someone throwing to protect their elbow.
3. Tartamella was impressive in the way that he carried himself behind the plate. He hustled and took his throw down to second seriously every inning. That's not to say that I think he has any future with the big club, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him hang around the organization for quite some time.
4. Huffman walked in all four plate appearances. That was cool.
5. I wore the Leaping Laird shirt. Brandon Laird played third base for OKC. I tried to catch his eye every time he was in the on deck circle. I'd lock eyes with him for a split second and he'd look away. Before his last at-bat, he finally cracked up laughing. I'm choosing to believe that he realized that was his brother on my shirt.